Definitions of Common Amusement Park Terms

Amusement Parks 101


the exhilarating feeling of floating out of your seat while riding a roller coaster

Amusement Park

an entertainment facility featuring rides, games, food, and sometimes shows


"Exclusive Ride Time," when a park shuts down a roller coaster or other ride to the general public and lets enthusiasts ride it. ERT is a benefit of some enthusiast groups including NAPHA.   

Family Entertainment Center

A new generation of amusement facility that includes arcade games, miniature golf, kiddie play areas, and go-carts. Smaller versions are little more than large game rooms, while larger versions could be considered amusement parks with rides, food facilities, and elaborate miniature golf courses.

Flat Ride

A small spinning-type ride. Examples include Tilt-A-Whirls, Scramblers, and Himalayas.

Hyper Coaster

A roller coaster with at least one drop in excess of 200 feet 

Inverted Coaster

A roller coaster in which the train travels beneath the track rather than above it


Any track element on a roller coaster that turns riders upside down


An amusement park or section of an amusement park that features rides and attractions geared to children under 12 years of age

Lift Hill

Typically the tallest part of a roller coaster and often the first hill, a lift hill is where the train is hauled to the top and released. 


A roller coaster with several inversions

NAPHA-Style Ride Time

Exclusive ride time during a NAPHA-hosted event. Well known for its uncrowded atmosphere allowing attendees to ride to their hearts' content!

Out and Back

Configuration of a roller coaster that is basically an elongated oval in which the track travels out to a turnaround and returns to the station

Spin n' Barf

another name for flat rides

Steel Coaster

A roller coaster with steel track. The support structure can be steel or wood.

Suspended Coaster

A roller coaster in which the trains are suspended beneath the track and swing freely from side-to-side. Not to be confused with an inverted roller coaster.

Theme Park

An amusement park in which the rides, attractions, shows and buildings revolve around a central theme or group of themes. Examples include the Disney and Universal parks.

Traditional Park

An amusement park that emphasizes rides and tends not to theme its attractions

Trolley Park

An amusement park that typically opened in the late 1800s or early 1900s that was built by a streetcar company as a way to generate business during the weekend


A roller coaster track configuration that is varied and full of turns. Often features several layers of track and several crossovers.

Wooden Coaster

A roller coaster with track made out of wood, it can have a wooden or steel support structure.